As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

A classic bit of 70s TV: The Great WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey Drop.

Get Woke. Go Broke.

In the least-surprising box-office news of the decade… New female forward “Charlie’s Angels” falls flat.

This was a movie I was never going to see. I doubt I will see it for free via my local library when the DVD is released. In time for Christmas? Probably not that fast, but fast.

The following description sums it up nicely.

In terms of feminism and 2019 inclusivity, it checks all the boxes.

Unfortunately, the movie was bogged down by clichés and predictability.

And Hollywood is too blinded to see that “checking all the boxes” results, inevitably, in predictability.

The standard “Men don’t want to watch female action heroes” line is being spread around. The folks saying that conveniently ignore Wonder Woman, the 2001 version of Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, Terminator 2, etc. Or in the world of TV, they also have to ignore Netflix’s adaptation of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Because if they can’t blame others for not being “woke enough,” then they would have to blame themselves. And they are never responsible for anything. And besides, they got their participation trophies.

Least surprising? See my thoughts on this title from when I first tripped over it’s existence. Hollywood is Officially Out of Ideas.

For a more reasoned, business analysis of why this movie (and a few others) failed, there’s a story in Forbes and Hollywood, and raiding the Intellectual Property vault. Box Office: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Joins ‘Terminator’ And ‘Doctor Sleep’ As Hollywood’s Latest Failed Franchise

Get Woke, Go Broke

I’m sorry but this movie “franchise” should have ended after T2. Is this movie 6? New ‘Terminator’ Flops at Box Office.

It looks like the movie will lose about $120 million.

So the director (who also did Deadpool, so he has some ability) said if you were conservative you would be scared by the female terminator. Okay.

It’s funny how Ripley of Alien or Alice of Resident Evil or Evelyn Salt of Salt or Sarah Connor, at least as portrayed in T2 (who kicks ass and takes names) or Mallory Kane of Haywire (a totally underappreciated film, BTW) didn’t scare conservatives. But Okay, a strong, female lead is supposed to scare conservatives. Because you are either Woke AF, or a misogynist. At least according to the director, Tim Miller.

And more about Tim Miller

So, this auteur tells us, the world is divided into “enlightened” people, on the one hand, and “misogynistic Internet trolls” on the other. Anyone who doesn’t want to pay $12.50 to be insulted by a two-hour cinematic Gender Studies lecture is therefore a misogynist. As I explained in July (“SJWs Ruin New ‘Terminator’ Sequel”), the reason hit movies become hits is because they usually follow classic formulas, expressing themes with a timeless appeal.

That division of the world is pretty much Hollywood’s view of “flyover country.”

I don’t expect Hollywood to learn. They’ve had opportunities before this. (Does anyone remember The Fantastic Four reboot? How about Ghost Busters?) It will take a couple of studios shutting their doors after a string of box-office flops before anything changes. Which is why I don’t go to see movies anymore. They make the same movie over and over again. (How many times has A Star Is Born been made? 4 or 5?) They take classic intellectual property and piss all over it, because they can’t imagine anything being important to anyone. In short, they suck.

DC’s Batwoman TV Show

OK I admit it. I’ve been watching the latest CW foray into the DC comic universe. (Multiverse?) Hooray for friends with DVRs.

A couple of things. Maybe you didn’t know but there was an “outcry” because apparently some people think Ruby Rose isn’t “gay enough.” (She was one of the highlights of the xXx: Return of Xander Cage movie. Though I’m not sure even she can rescue this series from bad writing.

There are plenty of reasons to be miffed at this series, but trust me, Ruby Rose as “not gay enough” isn’t one of them. Look up her short film Break Free. Or not. (You can find that film on YouTube, though you will have to get past the Ariana Grande song, and a song by Queen…) It will piss off a lot of people or I would include a link here.

In the comics, Kate Kane is supposed to be Jewish, but I have yet to see a screed about how Hollywood’s refusal to include this is bad. It probably is, but I doubt that the series will feature a Hanukkah episode this year, even though that was a thing in the comics; Kate and her father doing one holiday-like thing together every year.

My biggest beef is that they have cast Rachel Maddow as Vesper Fairchild. So far she is just a “voice on the radio.” In the comics, she was straight and had an affair with Bruce Wayne (aka, Batman). I would love to see them write that into the story, though I’m guessing Maddow would bail. So the social justice warriors are upset that certain characters are not gay-enough; where are the people complaining that Vesper Fairchild is not “straight enough?” Is this a two way street, or what? I didn’t think so.

Here’s the trailer for the show.

The New Midway Movie Actually Might Be Good

Given that they seem to actually be concentrating on the history. ‘Midway’ movie takes war in the Pacific seriously – We Are The Mighty – Americas Tactical Military Entertainment Brand.

When I first heard of this movie, I was sure it was going to be a joke. The director of Independence Day and Godzilla (the 1998 version, not the new version). Woody Harrelson as Chester Nimitz. These two things didn’t sound like a winning combination to me. But then I saw the Bonnie and Clyde movie that Harrelson was in, and I thought he might actually have promise.

And Roland Emmerich did direct the 2000, Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. And now they seem to be trying to get the history right. They’ve spent a fair amount of time visiting the actual places, and talking to navy personnel to understand what it must have been like.

Once the Department of Defense approved a production support agreement with the movie’s producers, the writers got busy working to get the script as accurate as practicable. Multiple script drafts were provided to the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). Those same historians viewed the rough and final movie productions.

At the same time, I’m sure that the special effects (mostly digital) will be over the top, as you can see in the trailer.

I think when all is said and done, I will still prefer the Charlton Heston version.

The Comedy Police and a Truly Epic Fail

Rotten Tomatoes have been trying all year to eliminate “audience” ratings. It really started when there were large numbers of audience ratings for Captain Marvel that found that movie less than thrilling. They haven’t let up. Oh, they like audience ratings, if you buy movie tickets through them, otherwise you’re a bot from Russia, or something.

The latest show to earn the wrath of Rotten Tomatoes, and the ire of all people “woke,” is Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones. I haven’t seen it, but I may have to try. (I won’t subscribe to Netflix, but friends are subscribed.)

Details, or at least a description of what caused the Kerfuffle is at ‘Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones’ On Netflix Doubles Down On His Critics. (Hat tip to Crowder.)

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Tyrone Power vs Basil Rathbone. (Rathbone made an excellent bad guy!) This might be the best piece of swordsmanship ever put on film. It is certainly my favorite. The 1940 film The Mark of Zorro is definitely one of my favorite, classic movies. (When I was growing up, it played every year on WGN’s Family Classics.)

Basil Rathbone versus Errol Flynn in the 1938 production of The Adventures of Robin Hood comes close, but they had a much larger budget, and the fight is more about camera angles, and cinematic tricks, than about the fight itself. Also, that film was shot in Technicolor, and those cameras were large and unwieldy, and so they didn’t move too often. While 35mm cameras are not exactly small, compared to Technicolor, they are much easier to move around. I think it shows up in the story telling.

A movie from 1940 qualifies as Classic Cinema.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Classic Cinema? Please tell me it isn’t old enough to be “classic.” Original ‘Ghostbusters’ Returning to Theaters for 35th Anniversary.

the 1984 comedy “Ghostbusters” is returning to theaters in honor of its 35th anniversary

The “disaster of Biblical proportions” scene in the Mayor’s office is after the break. I’m not sure if that counts as a spoiler or not.

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Born To Be Wild

Peter Fonda died this past week at the age of 79. I think most people know him because of Easy Rider, but I will always think of him as Ulee Jackson in the movie Ulee’s Gold.

This is “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf from their debut album Steppenwolf, which was released in 1968. (It was also released as a single.) It is set against the opening (at least in part) of Easy Rider. (YouTube. Browser privacy settings. “Unavailable.” Use link.)

After the break is the trailer for Ulee’s Gold. It is worth a look if you haven’t seen it. (Fonda did win “Best Actor” at the Golden Globes.)

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Hacking In Movies and TV – Mostly Insanely Portrayed

Because Math and computers are hard, and writers are too cool to worry about those details anyway. 20 times Hollywood got hacking right (and oh so wrong).

Hacking, as with other real-world activities, like police work, journalism and being human, is something that Hollywood sometimes depicts accurately, and sometimes depicts with a lazy flurry of “rapid-fire typing.”

James Bond (and other big-ticket Hollywood films) gets hacking mostly wrong. As does NCIS, with a bunch of writers who apparently don’t know enough about computers to be able to use one to write their scripts. Mr Robot, of course, gets things right. Hak5 even mentioned that in one episode they apparently lifted some explanation for something word-for-word from a Hak5 page in the Wiki, and they got called out by name. Sort of. (The Hak5 Rubber Ducky.)

And this doesn’t even cover how people in tech are usually portrayed. (Nerds, in a nutshell.) NCIS gets points in my book for that. Neither Abby S. or McGee were completely nerdy. Though NCIS New Orleans fell back on that a bit. (Can you spell stereotype?)

There are even a few movies which are mentioned that I haven’t seen; I might look into them now. And there are also one or two, like Wargames, that I haven’t seen in a very long time, that might be worth reviewing.

Anyway if you have any interest in tech, and/or any interest in Movies and TV, you might get a kick out of the slideshow at the first link at the top.

Like a Train-wreck. I want to Look Away…

But I can’t. UFO. The 1970 TV series. It probably hit the US in 1971 or 1972 at the latest. (By 1975 they were making Space 1999, which was a spin-off.) I remember watching this, when it first launched. I thought it was great, but then I was 10 or 11 years old.

What follows is the pilot, “Identified.” They all seem to be there, though I have not watched them all. (There are limits! It truly is bad, even compared to the original Star Trek series.) The effects are cheesy, the costumes and dialog are ridiculous, even by the standards of 1970, though I do like the purple hair on the Moon Base Alpha crew. And EVERYBODY smokes. On planes. In offices. Wherever. Which was true up to about 1990 or so anyway. So since the series is set in 1980, this is probably Truth in Television.

The Worst Star Trek Movie in History to be Back in Theaters

Why? That’s a valid question. Star Trek: The Motion Picture Returning To Theaters For Its 40th Anniversary.

There’s an old proverb. (Not Klingon, as far as I know.) “Even numbered Star Trek movies don’t suck.” So of course they’re bringing back 1, the worst of the worst.

To mark the film’s 40th anniversary, there will be nationwide Star Trek: The Motion Picture showings on September 15th

If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother.

Another Movie I’m Glad I Didn’t Pay to See

I had forgotten I was on the library’s waiting list for Aquaman. It has been a long time since I signed up for that. While I liked the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least before burnout set in, the DC Universe, aside from Wonder Woman, hasn’t worked well on the big screen. Some of the DC-based TV shows worked for a while.

The version of the DVD the library had only had one “special feature” about how the director was all about “world building.” It showed. The dialog was stilted, mostly because the delivery of the actors was wooden, or maybe the script was just that awful. Someone at DC should re-watch the original Spider-Man movie directed by Sam Raimi, for how to do superhero origin story, stay true to the material, and still make it fresh. Aquaman is a movie that is quite literally all about the special effects. I thought movie companies learned in the 1990s that isn’t enough to base a movie on. (Sometimes even bad movies can come with interesting ‘special features’ about how the movie was made.)

Anyway, I saw the movie, while having access to my own refrigerator, ( in another part of the house, but still), was able to stop the movie whenever, and was able to blog, surf the web, partake in the occasional Twitter storm, etc. So the 2 hours or whatever were not exactly wasted.

True Lies

1994 was a pretty good year for movies, and True Lies was a damn good movie. Just the right mix of action and humor. It was released 25 years ago today, on 15 July 1994.

The Truth Serum scene and what follows in 4 parts.


The part in which Jamie Lee Curtis has the best line in the movie. “I married Rambo.”

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The InBetween

Not that anyone cares about my TV watching preferences, but I’m a sucker for certain shows. And the latest is The InBetween from NBC.

It is almost a relaunch of The Ghost Whisperer, from 2005, but with a police procedural wrapped around it. I loved The Ghost Whisperer. Well I loved the first few seasons anyway, but I always felt if could have been a bit darker. The InBetween is darker. The hauntings are darker, the police procedural set in Seattle PD makes the show more about murder/crime than about being honest with your family, which was most of the point of The Ghost Whisperer. It has a bit of the feeling of the show Grimm, which I also liked very much, but without the wry humor of that show.

The main character, Cassie, (played by Harriet Dyer, an Australian actress) can see and talk to ghosts, and occasionally just gets visions/messages from them. Her foster father is a Seattle homicide detective, which probably means that the show is being filmed in Vancouver.

It helps that Paul Blackthorne is playing the foster father, and for once they are letting him use his own accent (British) and not making him use his (slightly forced) American accent. I first ran across him in the TV adaptation of The Dresden Files, but you might know him as Star City Police Detective Quentin Lance from DC comic-show Arrow. He’s quite good, and the other people in the cast are also very good. Especially Justin Cornwell, who plays “the new guy” who has to be introduced to the whole paranormal aspect of policing in Seattle.

Anyway, I’m enjoying it and the 1st 5 episodes are available at NBC at least until July 17th. (I think NBC only gives you 5 freebees, and then they start to roll off the stack in first-in, first-out fashion, or maybe they keep the Pilot on tap for an extra while.) The trailer is below, and this link is in case YT objects to privacy settings in your browser.

FTL

I stumbled across a YouTube channel called Dust recently. They have short SciFi films that manage to be (mostly) better than the stuff that Hollywood comes up with. Some are foreign-language. (Russian or Spanish are the ones I’ve seen.) The one British short I’ve seen had a bit of the humor I grew to expect from Torchwood, or Doctor Who.

Case in point, FTL. It’s a 15 minute film that tells an entire story. With decent special effects. Hollywood would tell the same story, add 3 supporting characters that didn’t matter, a cast of 100s, and make the film last 2 hours. And then RottenTomatoes would ban people who said it was too long, and say you could only review it if you bought tickets thru them.

Hollywood is Officially Out of Ideas

For reasons that escape me right now, I was looking at upcoming releases of movies. I do most of my movie watching by getting DVDs from the library. (My PC won’t play Blu-ray disks.) It’s free, and I love free. The shows and movies are new if I’ve never seen them before.

And I don’t give Hollywood, and their insanity industry, even a shinny nickle of my money. (Which I like.) But I do occasionally see a movie in the theater if I think it will be worth it. (The last movie I paid to see was Wonder Woman, and it was worth the price of admission.)

But anyway, in that search for upcoming movies I eventually tripped over yet another version of Charlie’s Angles, which the folks involved described as follows.

Reboot of the 2000 action comedy based on the 1970s television series.

If that doesn’t scream, “We have no idea what to do next,” I don’t know what would. (Well, there are some other candidates for that in the list below.)

Other stuff planned for this year… A remake of Child’s Play, another Rambo movie, another installment of The Fast and The Furious (which seems to be veering into Science Fiction). A new Jumanji movie, and another Star Wars installment. A remake of Midway, that won’t be nearly as good as the original, though I’m sure the special effects will be superb. Do we need another Terminator movie with both Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well one is teed up for later in the year. DC is giving us Joker. (Is it the DC Cinematic Universe?) A hand full of sequels (for movies that shouldn’t have been made in the first place) and some kids movies. Add in a few Social Justice screeds, and you have the entire year. Well, there is the upcoming Spider-Man movie, in case you haven’t had enough of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Someday Hollywood is going to do something interesting and unique, and I will fall out of my chair. In the meantime, I guess the really new and interesting stuff is on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/whatever.

Oh, and as far as the Star Wars franchise films go… I defer to Larry Correia: My Russian Bot Review of The Last Jedi. (All the bad reviews were supposed to be from Russian bots.)

So today, don’t think of me as American novelist Larry Correia. I’m Lavrenty Krasnov, Cossack movie reviewer, who thinks that the Last Jedi was a dumpster fire of suck. Pass the vodka, comrades, because shit is about to get real.

The Pink Panther

Henry Mancini is a bit unique, because he is known for the work he did in movies and TV. Most movie composers struggle in obscurity, unless they are known for something else. But this is the song that most people know, and a fair number realize who composed it and performed it.

This is “The theme from The Pink Panther by the Henry Mancini Orchestra. It was the theme song for the 1963 movie of the same name.

Blake Edwards is probably best known for The Pink Panther movies, but some of his other comedies (such as Operation Petticoat, and Victor Victoria) are worth seeing. Though you should pass on 10.